When I was 12 years old, I overheard my mother and sister talking about something. I couldn’t really figure exactly what they were saying but they were behaving all strange and secretive. It had to be important. It had to be significant. I had to know.
So I asked. “What are you talking about?”
To my surprise, they refused to tell me. “You don’t have to know. You don’t have to know just yet.” I persisted and persisted but they refused to tell me. I pled and whined but nothing, not a single word from either of them, and that made me incredibly suspicious.
What were they hiding from me? Why wouldn’t they tell me?
What news was so significant and yet, crucial that I didn’t know about it?
So in the middle of the night, laying on my bed and staring at my celling, I came to the conclusion that I was dying. I probably had some terminal illness, like cancer of the eyebrows or something and was going to die in a couple of months. They were just finding a way to tell me. They just wanted to shield me from the harsh truth. They just wanted me to die happy. They probably wanted me to take my PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) before I died.
So in the span of 2 days, I went through the 5 stages of grief.
This can’t be happening to me. I am only 12. They must have gotten it all wrong. They probably mixed me up with some other kid. It is probably Kenneth. Come on. That kid has so many moles on his face. One of them has got to be cancerous.
Why me? Why the hell me? I pay attention in class. I don’t talk and throw shit around! I don’t bully people! Why the fuck not Jun Jie? That boy calls me names all the time. I mean in what world does Perry even sound like Penis.
What if I study really hard? I promise I will score all As, even for Chinese. My Chinese will be better than that Indian kid who is constantly used as an example of how terrible my Chinese is.
Come on God, you can’t kill a kid with so much potential.
I might as well just stay home and watch cartoons. I might as well just not eat my fruits and vegetables. It’s not like constipation is going to affect me in a few days. Dead people don’t shit right?
Oh well, I mean life is full of sadness and disappointments. I might as well just go tell my mother that I know so she doesn’t have to worry about telling me anymore.
So I told my mother.
And she looked at me.
Actually, she continued laughing all the way till Chinese New Year, where she told all my relatives that her son actually thought that he was going to die.
She hugged me from behind and said,
“What a silly boy.”
No one likes self-righteous people who can’t laugh at themselves.
No one likes self-righteous people who can’t laugh at their own son, especially when he is being an idiot.
My mother never believed in a reward system. Kids in school would get presents and money if they scored really well in their tests. I would not.
“You are supposed to do well. Why should I reward you for doing something that you are already supposed to do?”
That’s my mother’s reasoning. To a kid, that was plain bullshit. She was just being mean. She was being an asshole.
However, she did reward me for something. Whenever I did something good or righteous, she would reward me. I helped an old lady cross the road and I was allowed to choose whichever Lego set I wanted.
This led to me becoming quite an overly enthusiastic nice person. Old ladies who needed help crossing roads became like giant walking Lego sets to me.
After a while, the rewards stopped but the habit stayed with me. I guess my mother was on to something.
The world doesn’t need good intentions.
The world needs people who do nice things.
It doesn’t matter what reason or hidden agenda or Lego set you want, as long as you do nice things, that’s all that matters.
My mother was a liar.
Till the age of 15, I genuinely thought that my mother was an insanely picky eater.
She didn’t like:
Basically, she didn’t like anything delicious. She would cook or buy them and later say that she didn’t like them or she wasn’t hungry.
So I ignorantly ate them all,
all of her love.
She constantly corrected my grammar.
Let’s face facts.
That was pretty annoying.
That was pretty annoying too.
I stared at the back of my dad’s head, trying to decipher what he felt about my little article about his dead wife; my dead mother.
After 5 minutes of silence and rapid scrolling, my dad turned and looked at me and smiled “You are the asshole.”